A mother of seven, who is also pregnant with twins, is requesting a larger council house to home her family.
38-year-old Alana Burns lives in a four-bedroom council flat with her kids in Livingston, Scotland.
Alana is ready to welcome her two new babies to the world in March to join her in the flat along with her other seven children, Stewart, 20, Bryan, 19, and Caitlin, 16, Leigh, 15, Cayden, seven, Steven, four and Alisha, two.
The children and their mother share three of the bedrooms in the ‘leaking’ flat above a pub, as one is ‘uninhabitable’. The mother has complained about the safety conditions of having to squeeze so many people into the small amount of rooms.
She also told the council about the leak in her home, but nothing was done to fix it.
My relationship with some of my children is at breaking point, we can’t keep living like this.
The council has been out to the leak and said they’d get in touch with me, I have heard nothing. This has been going on for weeks and it needs sorting out.
It is not safe for anyone to be sleeping in that room so we’re now down to eight people sharing three bedrooms which is ridiculous.
I just want to get out of this hell. I’d rather live anywhere else, as long as it is not in here. It has been really tough.
I’m feeling down every night and sometimes you just feel like giving up. But I just have to keep going for the sake of the kids.
The family had been living in a private let in Livingston before Alana’s landlord decided to sell the property in August.
They lived in various hotels for a while until West Lothian Council found them the flat in Bathgate, which they moved into on September 20.
Shortly after moving in, Alana complained the flat did not come with a television, and due to its location the children couldn’t go and play outside.
She pointed out a whole catalogue of issues including uneven flooring, damaged ceilings, noisy neighbours and not receiving post.
We all have to wake up at 6.30am and a taxi picks the kids up at 7.30am to take them to school in Livingston.
I need a proper house where I can bring up my children. The whole situation is unbelievable. My kids can’t go out to play here.
The road in front is busy and there is a car park at the back of the property so it isn’t safe. All the kids are stuck inside all night crammed in without any TV.
On top of everything else, the mother has to pay out a huge £30 a day on electricity and claims a third party is using her supply.
There is no way we’re using anywhere near that level of electricity. We wouldn’t be here if we had a choice but we need to now get out as soon as possible.
In response to Alana’s situation, a West Lothian Council spokesman said:
It can be challenging to find suitable accommodation for large families who present themselves as homeless, given the limited stock of larger homes available.
In this case, the council arranged for temporary accommodation from a private landlord to try and meet their housing needs until a permanent home could be found.
Previous repairs notified by Ms Burns have been fixed by the landlord. The leak was only notified to us on November 12, with a repair to be arranged soon.
We would encourage Ms Burns to engage with the offers of support already made, to allow us to help find a solution for her family’s housing needs.
This includes widening her choice of areas to maximise her opportunities for permanent housing.
Hopefully Alana and her big family will find a house which makes them happier soon.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.